October 22, 2012 - 5:04pm
BY PROMA KHOSLA AND KAYLA UPADHYAYA
Emily Thorne and her schemes are back for an all-new season of “Revenge.” Daily Arts Writer Proma Khosla and Senior Arts Editor Kayla Upadhyaya recap “Intuition.”
Proma: How do I put this in terms of good journalism? Shit just got REAL.
Kayla: Where do we even begin? Last night’s episode was full of so many twists (some more literal than others) and shocks that I’m still reeling from it all. And in addition to the craziness, we also got raw emotional moments?! “Revenge” was in its element this week.
Proma: For the first time all season, every storyline in this episode really felt like it had a purpose. From Amanda’s mother to the baby shower to Daniel and Conrad to Nolan ... not a moment was wasted. But let's start with the obvious: Amanda.
Kayla: Yes. So the episode begins with Victoria ominously discarding a bloodied document in the fire (as characters are prone to do on this show) while her maid mops up a giant pool of blood (I’m sure that didn’t come in the job description!). As we find out later in the episode, the pool of blood belongs to Amanda, who takes a nasty fall (there's that literal twist I was talking about) whilst arguing with Victoria at the baby shower Queen V throws for her — for ulterior motives, of course. Now, before we get to the implications of her tumble, let’s talk about what brought Amanda to Grayson Manor in the first place. Which is, of course, all Emily’s devising.
Proma: Right, for which we see Emily feeling visibly guilty by the end of the episode. Once again her single-minded pursuit of revenge has hurt someone she cares about, possibly fatally. Even though she and Amanda have argued considerably over the past season, Emily owes this girl everything. The moment that really drove that home for me was when the ambulance driver asked Emily if she was family. She couldn’t muster any kind of answer — her relationship with Amanda is so complicated that it literally can't be explained.
Kayla: Emily literally owes her her life, and yet she is constantly using Amanda as a puppet, and then flat out lied to her two episodes back about the paternity of her baby. You’re right — their relationship is so wonderfully complex. But there are times when I wonder why Amanda puts up with all of Emily’s manipulations. In any case, she fully obliges this week and they use their useful earpiece maneuver so Emily can control the conversation between Victoria and Amanda, with the ultimate goal of proving that it was Victoria who visited Emily’s mother under the name Charlotte Clarke. Amanda gets the proof, and a heckuva lot more. Right before the slip, Victoria reveals that the reason why David Clarke made Emily believe her mother was dead was because the truth was much worse: Her mother had tried to kill her. What I didn’t really catch right away was that Emily didn’t hear this last bit. The earpiece was acting up. In any case, I was only mildly shocked by the reveal, because I didn’t believe it. You have to take everything Victoria Grayson says with a grain of salt, you know.
Proma: Yeah, I didn’t think much of the news when it came from Victoria. But when Emily unlocked that memory, I was terrified. Now we run the risk that even if Amanda’s injuries aren't fatal, she could be murdered at any moment by the woman no one knows is Emily’s biological mother. Sometimes I wonder how I would explain this show to people who know nothing about it.
Kayla: I don’t think we need to be worried about Mamma Clarke killing Amanda. The memory — which was terrifying and beautiful shot, by the way — made it quite clear that there was more going on. Yes, she undeniably almost drowned her child. But it’s unclear if that was simply a result of her insanity or if there was something larger at play. She was trying to hide both Emily and herself. From what evil she was trying to hide is unclear, but I have a feeling it’s going to be traced back to the Initiative and/or the Graysons. As for Amanda being in a coma, I’m a little annoyed. In some ways, it’s great from a narrative standpoint, but in other ways, it was the easy way out. Killing Amanda would have been a much bolder move, but it certainly would have cut out too much story potential. Putting her in a coma seems like a weak middle ground choice. She’s still available if we need her down the road, but in the meantime, it frees up the Emily-Jack possibility and eliminates some of the business of this season so far. I don't think this season is too busy necessarily, but it certainly has a lot going on, and with Amanda out of the picture (kind of), there’s some space freed up for some of the newbies in town, like Aidan and Emily’s mother.
Proma: I am intrigued by both of those characters. I thought Aidan was pretty random and unnecessary at first, but he’s proved useful and refreshingly does not put up with Emily’s shit.
Kayla: Agreed. This season is already distinct from last in that we’ve pretty much moved entirely away from the episodic nature of “Revenge” ’s early days. When the show first began, Emily Thorne focused on a target of the week, carefully and systematically executing her larger plan. It was an effective way to get us hooked, but once they had us, the series started developing a much more serialized structure ... which is why, as you mentioned, it’s pretty impossible to describe the show to an outsider. There is just so much going on! Last night’s episode makes this all the more apparent. We’re deep in a saga, and even when the show starts throwing new characters in, they’re immediately a part of the fold. Even though we still don’t know very much about them, Aidan and Emily’s mother, are welcome additions that don’t throw off the show’s balance by any means. Plus, we’re thankfully getting some more from characters who didn’t have as big of roles last season, namely Ashley. I know you’re not her biggest fan, but aren’t you at least happy she’s serving a purpose these days?
Proma: Oh yes. I always thought she was conniving, and now that it’s more out in the open, I’m happy to accept it as character depth. They’re still keeping us in the dark about her relationship with Conrad, which, while frustrating, is smart.
Kayla: Even though Ashley and Daniel have literally zero chemistry, their relationship is a really fun part of the show right now, because of how obviously transactional it is. There is nothing healthy about their relationship: Both just want something from the other. Though, Ashley does stand up to Conrad at the end of the episode and says that she no longer wants to spy on Daniel. Not sure if that is supposed to be taken as a signal that she is actually invested in the relationship to an extent ... regardless, we got a pretty steamy sex scene between the two at episode’s end. It’s funny — for being such a sexy show, there really is very little sex. Anyways, there seems to be more romance on the horizon: Padma and Nolan shared an adorably awkward kiss! Granted, Nolan’s sudden interest in her felt a little forced. Are we supposed to believe that his father’s death brought the two together?
Proma: It wouldn’t be the first time death has led to kissing on this show (RIP Sammy). I agree it was abrupt, and given the overly-contrived hints that Nolan and Emily might have a relationship (hints which serve the sole purpose of misleading Padma), I’m surprised that Padma didn't question it. Also he is taking her to Paris for dinner. PARIS. FOR DINNER.
Kayla: Nolan sure knows how to charm. Also, I’m just so blown away by Vadsaria’s acting. I’ve never seen her in any role other than Rebecca Logan on “Greek,” and even though we don't know much about Padma at the moment, she’s a stark contrast. Vadsaria uses completely different intonation and everything — it’s incredible! Anyways, anyways, yes we all know how much I love Dilshad Vadsaria. As Katherine Parker would say, moving on! So this Declan storyline is taking some weird turns, yeah?
Proma: I like it better than Declan/Charlotte all the time. I like Delinquent Declan, although I am scared for him.
Kayla: Declan definitely has the potential to go off the deep end, just like Charlotte. And it turns out that his robber friend and the man who they stole from are all a part of an elaborate scheme to buy out the bar? Is that bar really that valuable? I don’t really know where this is going, but I have a feeling it could have something to do with the dead body found drifting up from Jack's sunken boat that we were teased with at the season’s start. The Porter boys look like they might be getting tangled up in more than just romantic messes for once.
Proma: Oh god, I forgot about the dead body. It’s so hard to stay big-picture with this show. The bar can’t be that great — they must have a bigger issue, with Jack or Declan or even their father. It's sinister on a more basic level than what Emily usually gets tangled up in, so I'm interested to see where this goes.
Kayla: We haven’t talked about my favorite scene yet. And no, it isn’t when Amanda brings all those strippers to her baby shower, which was hilariously perfect. But the most intense moment of the episode comes at the very end, when Emily returns home after having remembered how her mom almost drowned her. Aidan is there waiting her, and she completely loses it. Even the other rare times we've seen Emily act like a real human haven’t been quite as uninhibited and chaotic as this one. She basically collapses into Aidan, completely overwhelmed by emotion.
Proma: I had a very similar moment a few weeks ago, and the writers pretty much nailed it. Sometimes things go wrong and you just need someone there.
Kayla: Which makes me think that there could also be some Aidan and Emily romance in the near future. They have a past, and he arguably knows her better than anyone else — Nolan included. As for other future developments, next week promises a showdown between Mamma Clarke and Victoria ... which will surely be nothing short of fabulously twisted.
Proma: I hope they rip each other’s hair out.